AUSA: Textron Touts New Small Arms Technology


AUSA, Washington DC: The US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) intends to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 with both a new weapon and new 6.8mm ammunition.

Textron Defense’s Wayne Pender, senior vice president Applied Technology explained in an AUSA briefing this its NGSW offered “new yet well proved technologies in both areas”.  Drawing on a unique polymer cased telescoping (CT) ammunition developed as part of its earlier LSAT allows introduction of a number of advances in the weapon and its performance. 

“Our design is purpose built,” he shared, “with shorter rounds allowing for a shorter, lighter and simpler operating weapon.”  Unlike traditional weapons it “ejects the spent case forward, with the new round pushing the fired case from the chamber thus eliminating the need to extract the spent case which can be a problem with polymers.”  In addition the design reduces heat build-up allowing safe high rates of fire. 

The company has delivered 30 Prototype 1 weapons from which it has applied feedback from soldiers and independent experts to its PT2 weapons which are now being provided as well as ammunition.  “Initial trials by soldiers at the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum have been useful in directing refinements to the design, particularly regarding ergonomics” he said. 

In addition, Textron has been coordinating to assure the interface between the weapon and the advanced fire control system for which development contracts have been awarded to L3 Harris and Vortex Optics. The NGSW uses a battery powered “smart rail” integrated into the weapon itself a new approach.  The Textron CT is one of three NGSW candidates the Army is evaluating with Sig Sauer and General Dynamics-OTS also in the competition.  The Army is pushing for a 2020 initial fielding.

by Stephen W. Miller